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HP Board considers firing CEO Apotheker: reports

(Xinhua)

09:59, September 22, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- Hewlett-Packard's board of directors is considering firing Chief Executive Officer Leo Apotheker after 11 months on the job and replacing him with former eBay CEO and California governor candidate Meg Whitman, multiple reports said on Wednesday.

Whitman, who joined the HP Board, might be appointed as Apotheker's successor possibly on an interim basis, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and All Things Digital all cited unnamed sources familiar with the matter as saying.

The New York Times reported that HP's board plans to meet on Wednesday to discuss the possible replacement.

Wall Street appeared satisfied with the possible management change. HP's stock price jumped after Bloomberg first reported the proposed action.

Apotheker, 58, was named HP CEO 11 months ago to replace Mark Hurd, who was ousted due to a scandal over a personal relationship with a company contractor and then became co-president of Oracle. Before HP, Apotheker served as CEO of German software giant SAP for 10 months

On Aug. 18, Apotheker announced that HP will shut down its mobile business, spin off its core personal computer business and transfer into a cloud-based software and services provider for businesses including a 10.3 billion-U.S. dollar acquisition of British software company Autonomy.

Shares of the company plunged 20 percent the following day, which is its worst one-day stock market loss since Black Monday in 1987.

On Sept. 30 2010, the day before Apotheker's appointment as HP CEO, the Palo Alto, California-based tech giant's stock closed at 42.04 dollars. On Tuesday, the price closed at 22.47 dollars, a decrease of 46.6 percent in less than a year.

On Monday, HP is reported to begin send over 500 employees pink slips in the webOS division, which it announced to shutter in August.

Whitman served as president and CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008, during which she led the company through its initial public offering and massive growth. But she is criticized for overpaying for the 2005 acquisition of Skype with 4.1 billion dollars. In 2009, Skype was sold by eBay at a valuation of 2.75 billion dollars.

She won the Republican nomination for governor of California in 2010. Whitman lost the election to Gov. Jerry Brown after spending more than 140 million dollars of her own fortune in the campaign.

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